Has the World Just Rolled Over on Top of You?
OCTOBER 14, 2015
Fall is upon us…unless you live in Florida. Things don’t change much here. People who have lived in Florida for a long time talk about the changes of fall, but I think that’s mostly wishful thinking. It really doesn’t change that much…and to be honest, I’m glad.
Some folks say that variety is the spice of life. I don’t buy it. For me, variety is usually a curse. I absolutely hate change…any kind of change. Every day I drive home from the office the same way, I eat the same foods at the same restaurants, and I go to bed at the same time. When I read a novel and find an author I like, I read everything he or she has written before I read anything else. I dislike travel so much I don’t even like going down to the corner drugstore. I like old friends and old clothes.
I just don’t like change.
As you can imagine, this is a very frustrating world for someone with my proclivities. I spend my life on airplanes going to new places and meeting new people. With all the changes in my life and in the world, I’m not always a “happy camper.” About the only thing that hasn’t changed in my life is the fact that everything changes…except the weather in Florida.
So for you guys in the north who like the changes in the fall, I’m not envious at all. It’s nice to have one thing that doesn’t change.
A lot of you are going through change, I suspect. Some of those changes are occasions for celebration, but for others (the majority) that change is traumatic and painful. Someone has said that every day the world rolls over someone who was just sitting on top of it. That is true.
Take Napoleon for instance. He knew about change. He was too worldly wise not to know. One time when Napoleon returned from a successful battle, people welcomed him with loud shouts of acclaim. Napoleon’s friend and colleague, Marshall Ney, commented that it must be nice to receive that much praise from his people. “Nonsense,” Napoleon replied, “with a small change in circumstance, these same people would be shouting just as loud for me to go to the gallows.” Those words were more prophetic than he knew.
In a few short months, Napoleon’s world rolled over on top of him. In the year 1814 there was probably no man in the world more pathetic than Napoleon. While his cruelty received its just deserts, there is, nevertheless, great pathos in the man. He was exiled to the remote British island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic, his world having collapsed around him. Before he had been the emperor, a military leader with the world at his feet. Now Napoleon was simply an old man dying of cancer.
There is great sadness in his words: “I could not unbend the bow; France has been deprived of the liberal institutions I intended to give her.” A short time later, Napoleon died.
Every day the world does roll over on someone who was just sitting on top of it. But the believer has an advantage. It is a secret that makes change bearable. The Psalmist expressed the secret this way: “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, So the Lord surrounds His people, From this time forth and forever” (Psalm 125:2).
Perhaps you’re going through some difficult change right now. (If you aren’t, you will. Life is not altogether different from New England weather. If you don’t like the weather, just wait around a few minutes.) It may be a divorce, cancer, a job loss, an “empty nest,” or the death of someone you love.
Go to God. He is always there. He always welcomes you. He always loves you. He always forgives. And God never changes. Going to him is moving out of a devastating storm into a safe harbor. It is the one place where things don’t ever change. Believe me, I know. My dislike of change has driven me to God and there I have found a security and a stability I can find nowhere else.
When I’m going through change, I remember two things.
First, I remember that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
And second, I remember that I’m not Home yet.
The writer of Hebrews (as with all of the Bible) is very honest. He writes, “These all died in faith, not having received the promises” (Hebrews 11:13). That is a fact. Life is filled with change and most of it isn’t altogether pleasant. Change involves loss, fear and pain.
But the writer of Hebrews doesn’t stop there. “Those all died in faith, not having received the promises…Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them” (Hebrew 11:16). And I might add, a city where there won’t be any more change…no more death, no more pain and no more tears.
For someone who hates change, I’m looking forward to that one.